Our lead pastor, Mike Waers, preached a hard & powerful message yesterday about the call for us to minister to our modern-day Samaria. This would be defined as people that we have a hard time reaching out to because of our own prejudices and biases. Our discrimination can be based on ethnicity, socioeconomic standards, or just a general dislike for people based on our own selfishness. Fulfilling this calling takes a change of heart in many ways and will most definitely make us uncomfortable.
If we are actually willing to fulfill God's call to the church we have to realize that things will start to look different than they do right now. As we wade into the middle of people's hurts and share the truth of Christ that will save them, it will prove to be a difficult and messy journey. It will stretch us as we ask God to increase our compassion and place a new heart within us that does not judge based on our weak prejudices. This will be a church that is actively engaged in reaching all of the community and not just people who are similar in appearance and experience.
It brings to mind an image of sitting around a table filled with diversity as we share with the King in worship, repentance, recovery, and healing. This will certainly change the way church looks, but I would wager that it would finally start to be the church that God has envisioned all along.